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Poster: ringolevio Date: Oct 30, 2010 4:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

Althea's got it - this current craze about the "Grateful Dead business model" has little to do with the Grateful Dead. Somebody's trying to brand the "Grateful Dead business model" the way they claim (probably erroneously) that the Grateful Dead branded their music.

Always left out of the analysis is that you need a great product for any of this to work. You can't give away just *any* free product and expect people to go nuts, tell all their friends and family, and remain loyal for decades!! The Grateful Dead made beautiful music, remember????

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 6:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

>Somebody's trying to brand the "Grateful Dead business model" the way they claim (probably erroneously) that the Grateful Dead branded their music.

Exactly. And it's working quite well for them. But it's about as meaningful as "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," or any other trite (and well-branded) ideas that people come up with to sell their books and/or seminars. I'm sure there are insights involved -- be it the Mars Men or the GD Business Lessons -- but it's ultimately shallow, and basically seems like a promotional strategy for the author's/publisher's/workshop provider's wallet.

I don't object to someone selling an idea. But I don't buy it. In either sense of the word.

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Poster: ChefChappy Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: taping digression

But why. Take a company like McDonalds. Many companies have taken their business model, copied it, made some tweaks that fit their particular brand and became succesful. it all starts with the product but why shouldn't a current band who believes they have the goods look at a band like the dead and try to use the model they created for their own current and future success. A business model doesn't become a model until its successful and there are many American businesses that have taken succesful models, modernized them and created their own brand. Its the American way. What the Grateful Dead did may have happened oganically without any preconcieved thoughts, but it worked and if it can work for other bands, why not study it and tweak it using current trends like the internet.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 30, 2010 1:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Marketing it was, by design or accident doesn't matter

Yeah, that's what I was driving at above in part; doesn't matter what you call it, and Rosey is no doubt right at "bleech" toward all these trendy new terms for things that already exist, and folks "pre-dating" how they did it to make sure it fits the new notions, BUT regardless if they knew what they were doing, or when they did if they did, they did "do it" (ie, marketing along the lines of "free stuff! we are not sell outs, and don't want to rip you off...we want you to be a part of our family...write us and tell us about yourself", which I promptly did in 1971, and it worked. I became a huge champion of them.

You all know that from 1970 to 1982 I was a huge PR man for them...seriously; I debated any and all comers as to how unique, how much better, how much more Social Justice (I am DEAD serious--you guys have heard me drone about it all the time here; imagine what a force [farce?] I was when young and energetic and not disabled??) you got by being a HEAD.

Whatever the "truth", the myth at the time was the DEAD were the band that did it right, if by right you meant 60s this and that, anything but a corporate ripoff, something to join and celebrate as a member of the family, blah, blah, blah. We really thought we were thus better than an Eagles fan. Or Zep fan. And that OUR band was different.

Our band promoted sharing. Our band was trying to start their own record company to control quality and make a product for us that was cheaper in price but better in quality. Our band SENT us FREE stuff, like little round records of Hunter, and Garcia, and er...er...Seastones.

They really were different, and we believed they cared, and we certainly cared, and we told everyone we were superior as a result.

There is no tongue in my cheek.

This is why I've always said that in fact, Bob owes me money. But alas, my kids are thru college...

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 30, 2010 5:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Marketing it was, by design or accident doesn't matter

Much as I scoff at the idea of a Dead 'business model', WT has a point, as one of the few forumites here who was on the receiving end of their early marketing campaign.

There's no doubt that over 30 years, the Dead experimented with various forms of 'business models' & 'marketing ideas' - their stance in '75 might not reflect what they practiced in '85, and both would be far removed from what they believed in '70. We do know they preferred not to make decisions & just let things happen....so in many cases the Dead were pushed into what's called their 'model'.

The approach Tell talks about is one we're pretty familiar with today. ("We're not corporate money-mongers! We're weird and counter-cultural! We care about you! Tell us about yourselves! Here, have some free samples!" It's like the classic giant-corporation ad campaign these days.)

There's probably a good book to be written about the Dead's business approaches over the years (McNally has a lot of this type info in the rubble of his book - the recent 'marketing' book sounds like it relies more on the authors' theories than on historical research).

Earl Powell has talked in some of his posts about how the Dead became 'anti-marketers', as the mythology grew up around them in the '80s that they were like some traveling circus, where the last American hippie wildlife roamed free, centered on this amateur garage band that sometimes would become magical & sprinkle dazzling fairy-dust on their audiences. And if it didn't happen the night you went, MAYBE it could happen in the next show!

I think there's a lot to be said about how fans spread the word about what kind of band the Dead were and what to expect, and how the 'acid-test' spirit lingered through the generations. The band didn't even need to participate in this process, except by still existing - the myths grew around them as they just blundered from show to show, wondering where all these young crowds were coming from...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 30, 2010 12:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Celebrities and the myths about them...a long time ago

I must support Arb on this...in the 1840s there were a great many CELEBRITIES. Davy Crockett was one; the novels about the West were very much in this spirit. Buff Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hick, W Earp, etc., etc.

This is a TRUE story, verified by Kit Carson himself, and a number of military officers with him on the rescue: the woman he was in charge of liberating from the Indians literally had in her possession a dime store novel that had been written about Kit Carson doing EXACTLY (well, virtually) what was described in the book (ie, rescuing a white woman held by plains Indians, etc).

Talk about irony: she died in the attempt, and then they found the book, the only difference between "real life" and the "storyline" being her death. He predicted they would kill her if they rushed to the rescue but he couldn't hold back the overzealous military folk, blah, blah, blah.

I know this was just a minor tangent of your post, but trust me--it's amazing to find out how much of the mythologizing and the celebrity status of folks we think only became heros much later actually occurred "in the day", at least by the time of the printing press, and esp in the time of the "wild west".

Second, I must also echo L's pt: whatever you want to call it, the whole "we will make them" or "others may make them, no we changed our minds--er, okay, you can" biz on taping and the DEAD is very much an active debate/discussion in the biz world, and the economics of it have been tackled in many an esoteric, ivory tower manuscript form.

The bottom line (har, har!) is that most agree whether they were consistent about it, or knew exactly what the pay off was (and when they knew it), they DEFN did BENEFIT from it, and at various times, though contradictions abound, more or less allude to recognizing it was a good thing (them letting folks tape them, letting folks trade tapes, whatever).

Not sure where this started, but I'd vote for taping and sharing is good biz practice, and you could be a downright celebrity in the middle of the 1800s...

Does that get us anywhere?

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 30, 2010 7:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Celebrities and the myths about them...a long time ago

>in the 1840s there were a great many CELEBRITIES.

But the term wasn't used -- e.g., you "had celebrity," you weren't "a celebrity" -- and much like "these United States" (pre-CW) vs "the United States," there IS a difference. Same country? Yeah, sure. Same sense of it? Well, no one thought it was Turkey, but no, the sense of its nature was different. Because language and discourse encapsulate and frame perception.

There's a kind of baggage or subtle set of associations that goes with the contemporary term "celebrity" that would have misleading implications when applied to a different time, just as the term "branding" simply has misleading implications when applied to the GD, because the term itself contains and implies and carries along with it a whole array of other concepts that you really can't extricate from the term itself.

For instance, "being" a "celebrity" doesn't equal being "famous;" it implies a kind of PR machine, a celebrity-focused pop media culture, etc., that simply didn't exist in, say, the 1840s. Similarly, the notion of "branding" implies a complex and manipulated intentionality, focused discussion of image creation, etc., that is very 2000s. Consequently, to use the term to refer to a band's image and spreading of its music in the early GD era skews the conversation and perception.

Yeah, I know women chased famous men in the 1840s, Dickens was hounded on his US tour, etc etc. But the past truly is a different culture. Even the relatively recent past. Not an unrecognizable one, not a "better" or more innocent one or a less developed version of today, but different. The use of trendy terms like "branding" to describe it is misleading and ahistorical and can do more to inhibit understanding than to further it. That's all I'm saying :-)

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2010-10-31 02:09:13

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 30, 2010 10:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Celebrities and the myths about them...a long time ago

I hear ya, and I am just arguing that elements of what you are describing did in fact happen, and now we have a term for it...I agree you can't back date it precisely, but it works in reverse too: things were done prior that in many ways worked along the lines of the New Age/current concepts, as much as the implications of the new terms don't fit (and are often an abstraction, a "myth" even now).

Many of those historic celebrities fought the characterization, many embraced it, and made money off it...Kit Carson hated his, made no money off it, while Buff Bill did...Geronimo even posed for drinks in the end, perhaps not unlike Jerry playing for Persian?

Anyhow, the myth of the DEAD I had was anticorporate, that by defn became the "new corporate", and what they did in some ways is what folks today call branding, in part, but without the cynicism of today.

I think the DEAD really believed they could make a better record, make it for an enlarged family and friends, support both fan and manufactoring folks, and yup, some today think this kind of naive corporate model is ideal, "small biz American ideal."

And I agree that labeling it has in many ways diminished it; no longer sincere, spontaneous, blah, blah, blah.